I’ve always argued that every college football season comes and goes too fast. It was the same thing in 2018.
At Michigan, a lot of fun was had. The Big House was rocking again during an undefeated season at home, where the biggest and best home fans had a wonderful time. There was the 10-game winning streak and a roster full of characters that will be remembered forever. It was that much fun.
So much fun … until that drive to Columbus. Don’t even want to talk about it.
So let’s remember the good stuff. Here are my five favorite memories from the 2018 season:
1. Chase Winovich leading the “Revenge Tour”
Defensive end Chase Winovich earned “favorite player” status at Michigan a long time ago because of the long, flowing hair hanging out of the back of his helmet and his motor that ran on full-go every minute of every game. He’s a keeper for sure, and will always be loved in Ann Arbor.
He could have turned pro last year, but decided to come back to Michigan because he needed a better ending to his college career. There were losses to avenge — to Wisconsin and Michigan State and Penn State — and Winovich led the way in making sure it got done. Michigan pounded all three consecutively, beating three ranked teams and then walking off the field all smiles in their “Revenge Tour” t-shirts. So much fun.
2. Karan Higdon and his streak of 100-yard games
Karan Higdon is one tough runner, fighting and battling for every yard he could get. The Michigan running back, we knew, was going to have to play a critical role in this offense, because he was the one running back who could be trusted to do big things.
But he struggled for yards early in the loss to Notre Dame, then missed the third game with an ankle injury. There were reasons to be concerned. But then he started piling on the yards, and rushed for 100 or more in seven consecutive games — and added an eighth later against Indiana. He was a fighter. He’s off to the NFL now too, and he’s going to be missed. He’s going to be very hard to replace.
3. Don Brown’s maniacal magic with the defense in October run
Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown is considered one of the best in the business, and he was at the top of his game during that “Revenge Tour” run from Oct. 13 to Nov. 3 against those three ranked teams. All three had veteran quarterbacks — Wisconsin’s Alex Hornibrook, Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke and Penn State’s Trace McSorley — and he completely embarrassed all three.
Each one of them had career-worst performances against Michigan. They were a combined 17 of 58 passing, for a minuscule 29.3 percent completion rate. All three games were routs. Michigan was the No. 1 defense in the country then, and nobody even questioned it.
4. Shea Patterson brings stability to the QB position
The best news that Michigan got in 2018 was when the NCAA granted Shea Patterson the right to play immediately after transferring from Ole Miss. He got the waiver because of the Rebels’ probation, and he quickly won the quarterback battle in training camp.
Patterson was the cure to what ailed Michigan the most, because quarterback play under Jim Harbaugh — a great Michigan quarterback himself back in the day — had been abysmal at best. Patterson changed all that. He passed for 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns, but most of all he became the confident leader of this team. He played with passion, and played with confidence. The other great news was that he decided to come back for the 2019 season. That’s the first step in more magic for next year.
5. Turning off my memory at 11:59 a.m. on Nov. 26
Yes, when you have to have great memories of Michigan’s 2018 season, it’s best just to doze off a minute before Noon ET on Saturday, Nov. 26. That way there are no memories of the horrible day in Columbus, when favored Michigan — on the verge of winning the Big Ten and earning a College Football Playoff spot for the first time — was destroyed by hated Ohio State 62-39.
It was embarrassing, but just as embarrassing was the 41-15 loss to a very average Florida team in the Peach Bowl. What a horrible ending to the season in those last two games.
Or so I’ve been told. Memory turned off.